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Posted by on Aug 19, 2008 in Politics | 13 comments

Will McCain’s “Game Changing” Vice Presidential Pick Be Lieberman?


Will Republican presumptive Presidential nominee Sen. John McCain’s Vice Presidential pick be independent Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman? Several reports have suggested over the past few weeks that it could be — including this latest one. And each report is stronger than the last…

Given the number of stories about Al Gore’s 2000 running mate being in serious consideration for a McCain nod, this could be several things: a political feeler, political misdirection or a series of reports with solid reporting that strongly suggest Lieberman could wind up McCain’s Veep. Lieberman would make history several ways: first Jewish-American to run for Veep in 2000, first Jewish-American to run for Veep on the Democratic ticket, first Jewish-American to run as Veep on the GOP ticket and the first man to run as Vice President on both major party tickets. (And, possibly, the first American to lose as a Vice Presidential candidate on both tickets).

But would it be game changing?

The argument is that Lieberman is someone who reaches across the aisle, and he isn’t a Republican, so his selection would show McCain is a true bipartisan Senator. But Lieberman over the past year has sided with the Republicans on a variety of issues and is increasingly aggressive in his attacks on his former party. Many Democrats don’t even consider him a Democrat anymore — even though he has sided with his old party on a host of important other issues. So if he’s on the ticket McCain can’t count on Lieberman attracting a host of votes from Democrats. There are no signs that today’s Joe Lieberman is a Democratic voter magnet.

Additionally, polls show that independent voters are up for grabs in this election. But independents are also split on the war. Those who oppose the war are unlikely to vote for Lieberman. So it is not a “given” that Lieberman would deliver the independent vote even though his official label is “independent.” Also: many independent voters don’t like seeing politicians question the patriotism of other politicians…as Lieberman recently did with Obama.

Most likely: if Lieberman’s on the ticket it would particularly please some Republicans since Lieberman had been the Republicans’ favorite Democrat — and now he is the Republicans’ favorite independent and bipartisan. Who is no longer considered bipartisan by many Democratic voters.

Another factor: Lieberman on the ticket it would likely energize many Democrats on the left and even center-left who have not been happy with Lieberman’s siding with the administration on war and civil liberties issues to make sure they vote against a McCain-Lieberman ticket.

Some other hitches:

The National Review’s Rich Lowery argues that from a Republican standpoint, choosing Lieberman would require the tacking on of special conditions and prove a risky choice.

Meanwhile, the GOP’s True Emperor has given his thumbs down…

Rush Limbaugh, the Republican Party’s Ultimate Unofficial Superdelegate, has made it clear that he thinks both Lieberman and former (also pro-choice) Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge are conservative-credential and acceptability challenged (i.e., stink as choices) for Veep, ABC reports:

[Limbaugh said:] “This is crap. What is this about picking a liberal Democrat or a liberal Republican? McCain has already seen to it that he can walk across the aisle that he’s the top of the ticket. If anybody is going to attract moderates it’s going to be the top of the ticket guy. He’s not going to help himself any additional way, he’s going to hurt himself by putting a liberal or a liberal Republican on this ticket, particularly pro-choice. If they do that, if the McCain camp does that, they will have effectively destroyed the Republican party and pushed the conservative movement into the bleachers.”

Or perhaps some folks to Libertarian candidate Bob Barr?

Game-changing? Unlikely.

Attention getting? Most-assuredly yes…